WHEN DOING MORE WITH LESS IS SUCCESS: RECONSIDERATION OF A LIFELONG MANTRA

by Bruce Piasecki, author of Doing More with Less: A New Way to Wealth

Of course Ben Franklin, with his funny bi-focals, is the father of all I’ve learned again about competitive frugality. When confronted with a business predicament, I often say to myself “Be Like Ben All Again.”

ILLUSTRATION: PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY WILLIAM DUKE; LOC

Big Ben, America’s big Ben has gone global, viral in a sense before the internet, and since. While a smaller and smaller portion of capitalists remain lost in debt and speculative behaviors, the greater majority of the new generation want a response to climate change, and a lifestyle fashioned around competitive sustainability.

How can I help you visualize these magical phrases? If you watch how Michael Jordan played basketball, you’ll see what I mean. Efficient, shark-like in efficiency and result. There was little wasted gestures or mindless effort in the play of Michael Jordan. Ben taught me how to think like this, and I am sure he enabled the creation of the profit margins in my management consulting firm since 1981.

For this, many thanks.

BEN FRANKLIN’S FAMOUS ESSAY ‘THE WAY TO WEALTH’

Benjamin Franklin’s little essay, “The Way to Wealth” is the witty reminder of how it pays to spend less, and gain more, both in gestures, attitude, and actual buying patterns.

Have you read it yet? It takes about an hour. Thinking about Ben again yesterday, I spent more than an hour aimlessly watering my many blooming flowers these excessively hot days in Saratoga this June. Yet Ben was near, I did not overwater. I did not waste their beauty. Better to care for them, Ben might say, than to waste them. It is being industrious while being frugal that matters most days.

Why this thinking again about the value of Ben Franklin’s pragmatics?

Why my insistence on remaining civil, diplomatic in gesture and deed, and frugal?

IT PAYS TO RECALL AND REACT THIS REVOLUTIONARY CALL TO ACTION

Modern societies have often forgotten the value in being frugal, our economic policies are still based on spending and overbuilding. That is what I wrote in 2012's Doing More With Less in the first place; and to my delight and surprise, it has taken me around the world. I find it hilarious that when this book came out in Mandarin last year it was called “The Thrift of the People.” It is now wandering many nations in Spanish. Perhaps it boils down to what enables someone to have the ability to accept challenges in times of capital, carbon, and resource constraints — and still achieve results.

You can read many solution-pointing books about climate change today, from Bill McKibben to Bill Gates. Yet do they address the fundamental answers. McKibben is about stopping energy systems, and Gates seems to want more of them. What about a more immediate solution?

I am “all in” with the concept of how competitive frugality is the major answer to addressing climate change. If I have any regrets about the first edition of Doing More with Less, it is that I did not link the world view explicitly to climate change, and this lost another decade in time.

The solution for a consumptive world of nearly eight billion people is not only more efficient cars, going more miles, after more throw-away things. It is about doing more with less. I am going to offer a new generation of readers a new and completely new text this Fall, with more emphasis on children and the books and experiences that led me to this “meditative mantra” ‘doing more with less is success.’ I will address climate solutions full on, which I did not do explicitly in the 2012 first Wiley edition.

LESSONS FROM TEACHING FRUGALITY OF EFFORT

When I think about all of the thousands of executives I’ve trained in life, both in the 22 semesters of being a Business professor, and in the two decades since of executive training assignments, I know what books mattered the most in my curriculum. I will now list them, as I update a text after a decade:

  1. Ben Franklin’s Way to Wealth
  2. Lincoln on Leadership, by Donald Phillips
  3. Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goldman
  4. The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson on “Freedom” and “Fate

We promise to explain in an appendix the top twenty books/essays that formed a backbone of thinking about this better form of competition.

RELATION OF COMPETITIVE FRUGALITY TO THE COMPLEX OF CONCERNS DOMINATING MODERN SOCIETY TODAY

In a recent Medium.com entry, I’ve indicated that today we need to be frugal. If you think about it, all the values of real sustained capitalist competition boil down to this simmering need to be both competitive and frugal.

It helps us make ourselves, our family, and our firms more competitive by being:

Financially Material.

It helps individual competitors become:

Decision Useful

It helps your firm remain:

Cost Effective

It helps society see your value as:

Evidence-Based and Market-Informed

Thanks to a new partnership, you will soon have access to a set of Masterclasses based on my books, my work, and my thoughts above. All of my experiences throughout my professional and personal career have been taken by a team of instructional designers at Ready Learner One and turned into easily digestible classes that you can take at your own pace.

I hope you enjoy them.

Bruce Piasecki

President/Founder, AHC Group www.ahcgroup.com

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author and Speaker

For additional perspectives: www.doingmorewithlessbook.com

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Bruce Piasecki

Bruce Piasecki

Dr. Bruce Piasecki is the president and founder of AHC Group, Inc., NYT bestselling author, speaker, advisor on shared value and social response capitalism.